Devon is a gymnastics prodigy, one of the few who have the potential to make it to the magnificent few who can represent the USA at the Olympic games. It all started out with an accident when she was a small kid and lost some toes, this seemingly disadvantage turned out to be the beginning of a stunning career. And her parents Katie and Eric are doing everything for their talented daughter. Days, whole weekends spent at the gym, hiring the best coaches even if they can hardly afford it. They have a plan set up, a plan to follow to make the dream come true. But a couple of weeks before the most important tournament of Devon’s life, everything is at risk and suddenly Katie has to ask herself if she really knows her family anymore and how much she is poised to do for her daughter’s success.
Megan Abbott’s novel is difficult to pigeonhole. On the one hand, we have the story about an ambitious girl (and her parents), who are ready to sacrifice their whole life for this one dream. You can see how much strong will can achieve and what it needs to be a sportsman or –woman of the top. On the other hand, we have a murder case, a case of disappointed feelings, of hatred and jealousy – the classic ingredients of a crime novel. And there’s the family story, a family close to breaking up and before the question: what glues us really together? A lot of things mixed up in an exciting plot. Some of the clues, however, are too obvious to see, so the twists and turns do not really come unexpectedly. Yet, for me, it was less the question of solving the murder case, but the development of the family structures which had most of the interest. This point is really strong in the novel, the relationships are not easy ones and they develop throughout the story in an authentic and convincing way. All in all, an entertaining novel which has to offer a lot for different kinds of readers.